Top Whitecaps Goals of 2009
By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
The Vancouver Whitecaps men's team season of 2009 will be a campaign that is sure to live long in the memory of those who follow the Blue and White.
Whether it was great goals, notable victories, strange occurrences, or heartbreaking disappointments, 'Caps fans lived through every emotion during the team's six months of action.
In the first part of our series of reviews on the 2009 season, we rate the top 11 goals that were scored by Whitecaps players during the campaign, with 11 making up the number of players in a team on a soccer pitch.
The list was completed with careful consideration and debate amongst club staffers, who perused over many fine goals to provide supporters with the best strikes of the year.
Think there was a goal that should be on our list? Give us your thoughts by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitecaps men's team - Top 11 Goals of 2009
With the series and the club's playoff future in the balance, the captain led by example by scoring a crucial goal early in the second half at Portland's PGE Park. Nash's exquisite free kick strike flew past Timbers goalkeeper Steve Cronin and into the top right-hand corner of the net. The goal helped the 'Caps reach the 2009 USL-1 Championship Series.
Needing a victory to keep their hopes alive of winning the Canadian Championship, Toure brought delight to Whitecaps fans at Swangard Stadium with his second goal of the game. With nine minutes remaining, the Liberian took a return pass from Charles Gbeke on the edge of the TFC box before sidestepping former Whitecaps player Kevin Harmse and unleashing an unstoppable left-foot shot that flew past a diving Greg Sutton for a famous 2-0 home win over the Major League Soccer club.
3.Marcus Haber versus Montreal Impact – USL-1 Championship Series, first leg – October 10
A goal down and a man down after the sending off of Martin Nash at Swangard, the 2009 USL-1 Rookie of the Year underlined the fighting spirit of the 'Caps with a superb individual goal in the second half. The speedy striker took advantage of a Stephen deRoux turnover in the Whitecaps half and ran straight at the Montreal backline. As he entered the Impact box, he sidestepped the retreating Cedric Joqueviel with a neat bit of skill before placing a right-foot finish past Matt Jordan to make it 1-1.
On a memorable night that saw a delay of over two hours because of severe thunderstorms in and around Swangard, James gave fans that stayed on for the match something to cheer about. The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international took a pass from Gordon Chin before turning Islanders defender John Krause on the left and heading inwards towards the edge of the Puerto Rico box. He then struck an unstoppable shot into the top right-hand corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
5.Tyrell Burgess at Rochester Rhinos - USL-1 regular season - July 31
The Bermudan rookie left a mark in scoring his first goal for the club and as a USL-1 player in Upstate New York. Midway through the second half, the winger took a simple pass from Gordon Chin near the edge of the Rhinos box before cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable right-foot shot past goalkeeper Tim Melia.
6.Ethan Gage versus Montreal Impact – Nutrilite Canadian Championship – May 27
On national television, soccer fans across Canada were given a glimpse into the club's future and their commitment to developing young Canadian players through their Residency program. In need of three points to keep up their chase on tournament leaders Toronto FC, Gage took advantage of former teammate Eduardo Sebrango's poor clearance in the Montreal box, as he drilled a shot past Matt Jordan to give the Whitecaps a 1-0 win and end the Impact's reign as Canadian champions. It was the midfielder's first-ever goal for the Whitecaps men's team.
7.Dever Orgill versus Rochester Rhinos – USL-1 regular season – May 16
Despite out-shooting the Rhinos 23 to four during the course of the match, the Whitecaps fell 2-1 to Rochester at Swangard, but not before club history was made. In the final minute of the game, Ansu Toure slipped a pass to substitute Orgill in the Rhinos box. The Jamaican youth international teed up a low shot that beat goalkeeper Scott Vallow. The goal meant that the 19-year-old became the first player from the Residency program to score a goal in a men's team match.
8.Randy Edwini-Bonsu versus Carolina RailHawks – USL-1 first round playoff series, first leg – September 24
Though it came late in the season, Edwini-Bonsu's first-ever goal for the men's team was vital, as it eventually took the Whitecaps to a semifinal showdown versus Portland Timbers. Marlon James flicked Jay Nolly's forward ball into the path of the young striker. The Residency product then eluded the attentions of RailHawks defender Jeremy Tolleson before sidestepping goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell and slotting the ball into an empty net.
9.Marlon James at Minnesota Thunder - USL-1 regular season - May 2
Making his first-ever start or the 'Caps, James burst onto the scene with an early-season hat-trick. His power and speed were in full evidence during his second goal of the match. Using his big frame to fend off the attentions of Thunder midfielder Lawrence Olum, James made a run into the Minnesota box before slotting a fine low shot past goalkeeper Nicolas Platter.
Gbeke's eighth goal of the year was not the prettiest, but well taken nonetheless. Needing the three points against the Blues, the Canadian international struck the match winner when he cleverly headed Gordon Chin's high cross from the right over the head of Miami FC goalkeeper Pat Hannigan - who was caught off his goalline - and into the net for a 1-0 Vancouver lead.
11.Gordon Chin versus Austin Aztex - USL-1 regular season - September 13
Though he had several attempts on target during the season, Chin's first-ever Whitecaps goal came in a late-season home win over the Aztex, and in spectacular fashion as well. With four minutes left in the match, the midfielder took a simple pass from Lyle Martin before heading into the Austin box. He then unleashed a powerful right-footed shot that struck the underside of the crossbar before bouncing into the net for a 2-1 victory.